Casa Le Magnolie
Viareggio is an old sea-side resort and fishermen's port.
Liberty style houses blend together with old fishermen's dwelling ("darsena"). You may want to check out the little fish market at the port ("molo") where some of the smaller boats moor and sell the fish just off their nets. The port is located at the south end of a long promenade with a rich variety of fashion stores.
Even longer than the promenade is the beach with the bathing resorts. Delightful little restaurants and cafes are half-hidden in these establishments.
Lucca is a beautiful town. Surrounded by thick and intact walls.
Stepping inside Lucca is like stepping back in time. The c"ity by the 100 churches", as it is called, can be covered on foot in a couple of hours, but I would allow for a whole day. Great restarurants, really beautiful shops, art, torre Guinigi (a tall tower to look over the whole town among the oak trees, yes!), the old theater (opera). It may come across that I adore Lucca. I do.
Lucca can be reached from Viareggio by train (20 min) or bus or, of course, by car.
In Pisa you should see the cathedra & baptistry and walk up to the top of the famously leaning bell tower. Think it twice if you are afraid of heights though.
After you've seen this magnificent square, walk towards Piazza dei cavalieri. Here you will find the beautiful building of my alma mater, the scuola normale and next to it (left side, with a street going through it), the tower (not really a tower anymore) of the Count Ugolino. The story goes (according to Dante's Divina Comedia) that Ugolino was found guilty of plotting against the goverment of Pisa (all these cities were scheming against each other all the time) and was comdemned to being buried alive together with is family in their own tower. Ugolino's soul tells Dante that his own children offered themselves to him to placate his hunger. For condemning the children to this fate Dante curses Pisa.
Indeed Pisa was never particularly admired by all the other cities in Tuscany, but indeed, for a very different reason: apparently when Tuscany was unified under the Medici family from Florence, the "pisani" were in charge of collecting the taxes. Hence the saying: Better a dead in the family than a pisano at the door. You've got to love this one! :)
Carrara's marble has been used since Roman time. The Pantheon and Trajan's Column in Rome are constructed with it. Many sculptures of the Renaissance, such as Michelangelo's David, were carved out of Carrara's marble. The Marble Arch in London and the Duomo di Siena are also made from this stone, as are the interiors of Manila's Cathedral, the cold-white marbles of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque and the campus of Harvard Medical school. You may think there is snow on the mountains in the summer, but that is white marble!
Restaurants in the area
Our cuisine is divided into two main categories: dishes di terra and dishes di mare.
Dishes di terra (literally, from the land) comprise of all ingredients typical from the countryside (game meat, mushrooms, polenta, farro).
Dishes di mare, conversely, are based on fish, and sea food. Usually our restaurants specialize in one of these two types, rarely one can find restaurants that excel in both cuisines.
Restaurants di mare
Romano (excellent, expensive)
Via Mazzini 122 Viareggio (0039-0584-31382)
Closed on Monday
You can mention that "la famiglia Fanciulli" sent you (La famiglia Fanciulli ci ha raccomandato questo posto) and you can be sure you'll have a great experience.
Angelo (very good, rather expensive)
Viale europa, 20 - torre del lago puccini - Viareggio (0039-0584-341668)
Closed on Tuesday
Bagno Florida (beach view, good, medium price)
Traversa a mare 16, Viareggio
This "Bagno" (bathing establishment) is located along the main promenade in Viareggio ("Passeggiata") and is located approximately opposite from the largest hotel in town (Grand Hotel Royal) in Viale Carducci 44, Viareggio.
Il buo di misurino
Via Machiavelli, 64, Viareggio (0584 583387).
Both pizza and nice fish food. Reasonably priced, and great atmosphear and food. Definitely recommended.
Typical dishes di mare
Cacciucco (fish soup Viareggio style)
Fritto di pesce di paranza (tiny fish and sea food deep fried)
Insalata di mare
Spaghetti allo scoglio (the sauce is made of a mix of sea food)
Spaghetti alle arselle (the sauce is made of this small sea food, "arselle", a staple food for people from the area (viareggini) in the old times)
Best fish grilled or in oven: mormora or orata
Most restaurants specialized in sea food serve some great "antipasti" (starters). It is often worth trying them (maybe sharing), but be aware that having antipasti, pasta (primi piatti) pasta and second course will leave you gasping for air and won't leave any room for that delicious Italian ice cream sold around the corner :-)
Restaurants di terra
Bernardone (a bit expensive)
Here you can taste the most typical dishes "di terra" from the area.
Via di Nocchi 10, Camaiore
Ristorante chalet del lago - Torre del lago
Osteria Candalla (Camaiore)
Closed on Monday (0584 944381)
Directions on their website
Ristorante la Pieve
Fraz. Pieve, 19, 55041 Camaiore (0584/988962)
Both great pizzas and great dishes di terra. Reasonably priced, definitely recommended.
Typical dishes di terra
Panzerotti con salumi freschi
Lardo di Colonnata (Lard seasoned in marble containers carved in the mountain in temperature and humidity-controlled caves. Definitely a specialty of the area. Not an everyday food)
Pasta e fagioli con farro (Farro is a type of wheat that was the staple food of the roman legionaries)
Pane brutto (crusty bread cooked in wood ovens. Ugly (brutto), but delicious)
Bar/pizzeria Coluccini (Closest to Le Magnolie, down the hill)
Via Sarzanese, 151, Piano di Mommio, Massarosa.
Pizzeria and restaurant.
La chiesina (Viareggio, 200m from our house)
Via Leonardo Da Vinci 84.
This pizzeria is located in the old anglican church in downtown Viareggio.
At the turn of the century Viareggio was one of the poshest beaches in Italy. Just like you today, nobles and rich captains of industry from all over Europe would flock here every summer to enjoy the good season. A small anglican community obtained a piece of land at the edge of town to have their own churche built there. The locals (my family included) would stand in front of this little shurch to see the rich and beautifully attired ladies go to mass on Sunday.
Try the pizza francescana, it's my favourite!
Da Rizieri (Viareggio, 300m from our house)
Via cesare battisti 35 (closed on Thu)
This is no glamorous restaurant and it makes only one type fo pizza, but.. it makes the best cecina in town and it's the most typical eating place in the old Viareggio. Not for a romantic evening, they serve also sea food dishes and good pasta, but don't miss their cecina!
Viale Bonaini 1, Pisa (0039-050-20336)
This place is famous for great pizza, but reserving is a must.
Closed on Tuesday.
Via Pacinotti 88, Viareggio.
Open after 17:00, closed on Thursday.
via Mazzini 110, Viareggio.
11:00-22:30 every day.
Via Fratti 662, Viareggio.
Open until late (12+). Closed on Tuesday.